About

The Personal Data & Identity Theft (PDIT) Study is a comprehensive research project that examines identity theft from the perspective of individuals working to recover their identities as well as the organizations they interact with in the process. The PDIT Study specifically explores:

  • The steps individuals take to resolve their cases
  • The financial and emotional toll that process takes on individuals and their families
  • How organizations evaluate reports or claims of identity theft, including the policies and practices that guide personnel as they work with individuals who have experienced identity theft.

Existing academic research on identity theft largely considers 1) individual factors shaping perpetration and victimization or 2) news media accounts of identity theft while neglecting the everyday experiences of individuals and organizations actively resolving it. In contrast, the PDIT Study aims to foreground the experiences of victims and organizational personnel as they work together to resolve identity theft. In taking this novel approach, the PDIT Study will hopefully offer a valuable perspective to organizations regarding how best to work with and support individuals and families experiencing identity theft.

All of the PDIT Study’s research methods have been approved by the Columbia University Institutional Review Board, which works to ensure the protection of research subjects and the appropriate securing of any information or data collected by the research team. Also, please note:

Participants are not asked to provide specific account information or any personally identifiable information (PII) except for their names (optional) and an email address for contact purposes. This information will be used strictly for research purposes and will not be shared with anyone outside the research team.

If you have questions about the PDIT Study or its procedures, please email the project’s lead researcher, Jordan Brensinger, at j.brensinger@columbia.edu.